Park Scholars from the class of 2005 spent their time at NC State promoting the March of Dimes and raising folic acid awareness.
Allison Hauser (2005) has a passion for babies. As a board member for the March of Dimes triangle division and state board, she also has a mission—to help ensure that all babies are born healthy.
Allison first volunteered with March of Dimes (MOD) in high school, but it was at NC State that her involvement exploded—as did that of several friends. Calling themselves the “MOD Squad,” Allison and classmates Anna Edens, Sarah Geouge and Jennifer Rochette founded NC State’s MOD Collegiate Council. What began as a service project for their freshman Park leadership class has become an active student group with name recognition around campus.
This could be due in part to their unique educational events. Every semester the group gives away free breakfast on the Brickyard to help raise folic acid awareness. The vitamin can reduce the risk of neural-tube defects in babies by 50 to 70 percent when taken before a pregnancy. To promote its prenatal benefits, students are given enriched breads, cereals, juice and other foods high in folic acid, along with free vitamin supplements.
“We thought what better way to reach people than actually give them the breakfast foods that have folic acid in them?” says Allison. The events are scheduled close to exam times when students tend to be stressed out and neglecting their health.
In addition to education—each Council member is trained as a folic acid peer educator through the UNCG School of Nursing’s Point-4-the-Future program—the group provides manpower and support to the local MOD. They volunteer with events like its annual Chef’s Auction and assist with fundraising.
This includes WalkAmerica, MOD’s primary fundraising event. Walks are held across the country to raise funds for preventing birth defects and infant mortality. On Saturday, May 7, the club participated in its fourth walk and saw its highest turnout so far. Twenty-nine walkers from NC State helped to raise more than $3,000. Allison, participating in her seventh walk, collected her personal goal of $1,000, an increase over the previous year’s goal of $550.
With the four senior officers graduating this year, the group has recruited and involved underclassmen to carry on its work. Several of the founding scholars plan to pursue careers in medicine. Next year, Jennifer will attend medical school with a focus on pediatrics; Anna hopes to become a genetic counselor; Sarah plans to pursue a career in biotechnology or pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Allison will continue her work with MOD through this summer, serving on the national youth council, a group of 20 college students from across the nation who plan and implement youth programs for MOD. Among the programs is a summer conference she will plan for 250 students based on leadership and the MOD. Next year, Allison will finish her Master’s in Public Administration at NC State before pursuing a career with a non-profit organization.
For more information about the MOD Collegiate Council, visit their web site at www.ncsu.edu/stud_orgs/modcc. You can find more information about folic acid at the NC Folic Acid Council’s Site, Get Folic.
L-R: The MOD Squad smiles with Mr. Wuf at the group’s first WalkAmerica in 2002; Council members volunteer with the MOD Chef’s Auction in 2005.